Gene therapy for advanced prostate cancer

Academic Unit of Pathology, SheffieldDr Munitta Muthana£210,5642007 - 2010

Why we funded it

The options for the treatment of bone metastases in men with prostate cancer are limited. Research into this new form of gene therapy will offer an important step forward in understanding how to improve this for men.

Scientific title

Using macrophages to target therapeutic virus to primary and metastatic prostate tumours.

Research project summary

Dr Muthana's team plans to develop a new treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer. Tumours growing in the prostate gland and in the bone contain areas of low oxygen concentration. Cancer cells in these low oxygen areas are notoriously difficult to treat as they are have a poor blood supply and so are difficult to reach using chemotherapy. Normal oxygen levels are also needed for radiotherapy to be effective.

Dr Muthana has previously discovered that white blood cells called macrophages migrate from the bloodstream and congregate at high numbers in these low oxygen areas. Her current research will explore whether these macrophages can be exploited to get them to deliver anti-cancer genes to primary prostate tumours and secondary 'metastases' in the bone.